REVIEW Trikk ‘Mundo Ritual’ [Innervisions]

After navigating listeners into, through and out of the underground in their 74th release, Innervisions summons one of their Secret Weapons – a highly regarded but esoteric name in the underground music community, a less conspicuous social media and party scene sighting, often murmured in forums for siring music that almost always causes dialogue – to re-position our grounding back to terra firma. A complex, mysterious musician with eclectic musical taste and diverse artistic influences, Porto native Bruno Deodato, widely known as Trikk, confounds our conceptions of geography, and discomposes our deference to physical boundaries, through eight distinctive tracks. Though Trikk’s signature flavor seasons each individual production and there is a palpable consistent motif at the fulcrum of the compilation, the EP is never redundant.

Apart from Kunu, a track Innervisions label boss and one of the genre’s top oracles Dixon has integrated and embedded in psyches of dance music enthusiasts worldwide, the masterpiece in the making shied from the limelight for as long as it can possibly resist. Speculators, essentially the community’s noisemakers, embraced the Friday the 13th release with mirth and fervor. But Trikk got tricks up his didactical sleeve, listeners have already immediately commented that the EP as a whole, matures and improves with each listen: perhaps, it is the further unraveling of the minutest details Deodato artfully crafted and draws attention to but are too intricate for immediate absorption; perhaps it’s the crystallization of unprecedented rhythmic synergies, or the simultaneous enhancement of our melodic grasp? Or perhaps it is our aural submission to the idea of a metaphysical construction of our world, which though startling, makes it okay to defy existing rules, acceptable challenge common constructs, and non-hypocritical to be contradictory. Why mingle tribal with nu-wave, interweave deep earthy house with nearly extraterrestrial techno, why name an EP Mundo Ritual with unfair proportioning to physical states? How do you integrate various conflicting musical styles and represent them appropriately without offending purism? Let’s take a quick jaunt and traverse the far corners of our objective realities through Mundo Ritual:

And over there in Europe, people had begun making even smaller machines, with even greater power, or at least with the same power as steam engines. There were also vague reports saying that a German had made a vehicle that worked by electricity. Oh Allah, and I couldn’t really understand what electricity was. [Pramoedya Ananta Toer: This Earth of Mankind, in: Buru Quartet published by Hastra Mitra (1980)]

Trikk teams up with Secret Weapons 8 classmate(s) and elektro-kraut extraordinaire(s) Fred und Luna, in ‘Karls Java’ which may sound like a convincing tropical island but is nowhere to be found in socially accepted maps. What clever way to unsettle comfort levels with a generally cinematic, often melancholic keynote, regularly applied to accentuate sorrow in film – bone-chilling sound of cognitive colonization, a steady inward-driven bassline that appeal to primal instincts, and timely application of electronic sounds that need not be understood, but easier felt due to the direct correlation of force and sound in use of traditional synthesizers common to this school of electronic music. As the elongated brushes of wind unfurl in a slow dance, a calculating inlooker circles the rim of our ear drums in form of electronic application. A graceful, face to face showdown between wind and synth occur, amassing from the tug of pull of organic elements and electronic soundwaves, triggered and pulled together by a tense substratum from the weak bends of our elan vital. Submission has been accomplished, ‘Karls Java’ is as tangible as our auricular capabilities allow it to be.

At that point when/where partygoers are noticed to be stuck in this awkward dance phenomena of being partly engaged in gracious headbanging practice and the rest in hyperbolic hip swaying, it might just be ‘Kunu’ blasting on speakers. A Dixon tracklist mainstay, the essentially and theoretically tribal track’s fire has not tamed, and current climates show no sign of letting it cool, although ironically, set at E minor, it had a solid framework for the epitome of cool: heavy rock music. There goes the wonderboy at it, interjaculating subtle metallic undertones. The track is multi-layered, complex, but organized in all forms of chaos, hence, in form and execution, it delivers and succeeds expectations in most fronts, except for a possible snag for those with short attention span who may yawn at the 16th second of the initial monotonous drumbeat, although in the long run this mechanic may fortify the landing of the proceeding jabbers. This potentially ritualistic mantra hits right below chest, and with repetition and sporadic howls of seduction, finds itself engaging in a mesmerizing tango between groove and percussion, driven by a stimulating drum beat roll and erotic electronic modulation. The track ends the same way it entered, but the story has already unfolded, and the elements have figured out how to philander on their own.

Far eastern elements in ‘Mundo Ritual’ unravel in it’s third cast member, ‘Saitama’, not a style most would characterize as the signature ‘Trikk sound’. Not your typical electronic music track either, starting off with incandescent jangles that twinkle confidently, far off from its bassline. Lighthearted clinks pave way to sweet, snappy cuts, all on a leisurely pace, delicately sprinkled high pitched notes then contribute to the musical goulash’s ability to capture and enchant listeners. Saitama’s charming and non overly Orientalized prelude substantiates Trikk’s fine ear for world music, without any fetishism or subjectivity. A series of finger clicking, coupled with modern sound techniques attempt to serenade listeners and the track itself into a jazzy groove, and propel it to meets its bassline at perfect conjecture. But in this modern world, this East meets West love story cannot remain unpestered for too long. Intrusive sound shapes distress this harmonious dance, and right before climax, clangs and clamors, and a bit of aggressive punches, steal shine. But as percussion domineers and gives cushion for some self-reflection, Saitama regains its self-confidence and establishes her presence in the modern ritual world.

Deodato’s fourth croon, the damsel ‘Bela’ starts off regal-cold, fierce and tense. A high-nose blue blooded drum beat, confused by a frenzied musical monologue from a distance, where moist claps seem to spirals from. As the soundscape becomes fertile, a melodic trance builds up, grazes in and out and climaxes into a soul electrifying chant that careen our body’s cells in circular motion. In this track, we discover the type of tension that somehow soothes. Like mothers tapping their fingers against their babies’ bare skin to put them to sleep, Trikk’s perfect arrangement of dribbling drums, infused with the right electronic touch and painted with the warm, exalting hue of D major, becomes a whirlpool of undulating soundwaves – soothing the sores and aches of bodies in need of rendering, and ready for submission. ‘Bela’ departs in some kind of exuberance for independence but anxious farewell, a non-abrasive tug of war between staying and going that can only end in silence.

A tense tip-toeing build up tapped with a deep but slow kick bass and slapped by sudden pumps of coercive bass, propels our nose dive into ‘Mandole’, where percussion awaits with circular pellets of electronic germination atop an odd, wiry undercoat. A symphonic interlude unveils itself and allows a hit of snare here and a hit of snare there to climax it into a meditative melodic dance, that is sure to awaken the chi, with its snippy, orbicular motions. The sonata indulges itself in quite a bit of foreplay – undecided whether it is or is not aroused – but somehow, never completed arrives at the track’s conclusion where a labyrinthine drumplay strips it of all complexities at a time when our auditory peripheries are way outstretched, senses elongated and overloaded, and the rawness just lets Trikk’s handle on reverb hit closer to home.

A catchy, clacking prelude with light muffling on its throat joins a jaunty jangling waltz at the onstart of our walk down the aisle. As in traditional liturgical procession, the ceremonial stroll to the ‘Altar’ is energized by a cherubic organ-driven incantation, but uncustomary to liturgical processions, scratchy synth frolic and playful snare rile emotions and reach the proper temperament for melodramatic lamentation. Unrelentless electronic guitar application served as emotional questioning reminiscent of the lovedrunk songs of earlier decades. The nagging, erratically pitchy chorus transmutates into a pleasant devocalized cadence, as they join forces in the company of our miserable personal distress. As our nostalgia for the fundamental and simplicity looms, Trikk becomes sympathetic, slowly defiling all convolutions and hitting the gong hard to reverb that is as sweet and basic as original sin

‘Voltaire’ works as the perfect pick me up, right as Trikk begins to wrap up ‘Mundo Ritual’. The lack of sense of place can sometimes be exhausting and dispiriting but ‘Voltaire’s’ energetic upbeat intro, groovy rhythm and enthusiastic drum beat hits the spot. From the get go, the track triggers some foot action, then a catchy, rock and roll euphony, thunder-struck by deep electro guitar and a limboing synth, takes full aural cover. As the pendulum swings from left ear to right ear, spikes of synth spurts emerge from within, ‘Voltaire’ will make your feet move, but it is the internal microcosms of overactive sound bubbles that really drive the head afrenzy. ‘Voltaire’ is reminiscent of the rocky ages of teenagehood, when your identity is just emerging, and everything is thrown at your face.

Having got to know a little sense of the now from ‘Voltaire’, a little bit of the world that hegemonically supersedes as the norm and is the non-exotic, and arrive at the door steps of ‘Venal’. Powerful heart pumping techno-esque bass with some foreign slapping and a bit of extraterrestrial murmuring. Where as most preceding tracks connect us with rhythm and beat to our souls, the dank tunnels of ‘Venal’, provides a vapor like escape with bone-hitting bass and harsh clangs sustaining a fair distance from the ground. ‘Venal’ then proceeds in a transcending groove, whipped and lashed at by electronic treatment against a propeller-boosted ascend.

Trikk’s ‘Mundo Ritual’ unveils the tensions and conflicts brought forth by a clash of musical forces but reveals that though the confrontations are not always congenial; they need not always be belligerent either. By applying his artistic craft, gained from exposure to and tolerance of nonfamiliar influences, Trikk is able to rouse proper energies to cultivate a melodic soundscape where all elements are able to engage in a soul soothing, rejuvenating dance. ‘Mundo Ritual’, more than just the EP, shows a modern conundrum one finds ourselves in, in our post-war world where we are unable to escape the realities of cultural and even psychological codependency. His Portuguese and Mozambican background puts Trikk at an advantage to be able to pull off the balance of tribal, modern and nu-wave influences. The colonization of the latter by the former has many unpleasant implications to say the least, however, the influence both have on each other’s music, and though initially forced, eventually their fruitful marriage enriches the verdure and virtual elements of ‘Mundo Ritual‘.

Kristian from Ame once said about Trikk’s sound that ‘if the future sounds like that you can count me in. Outaspacehousemusic for the heads on the floor.’ Well, Trikk’s sound has arrived in ‘the future’. (Marie)